Although 79 percent of physicians in medical specialties experienced increased compensation in 2011, radiologists didn’t join the party, according to the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) 2012 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey.
Actually, it wasn’t all that much of a party. The compensation increase averaged 4.0 percent for primary-care specialists, 2.8 percent for other medical specialists, and 3.4 percent for surgical specialists.
Although compensation for radiologists declined, at least the decline wasn’t too steep. Median compensation for interventional diagnostic radiologists fell from $492,102 in 2010 to $485,277 in 2011, a decrease of 1.4 percent. For noninterventional diagnostic radiologists, the drop was from $461,250 to $459,186, or 0.4 percent.
And radiologists still stand near the top of the pay scale. Only orthopedic surgeons, cardiac/thoracic surgeons, and catheterization lab cardiologists earn more, according to the survey.
The AMGA represents multispecialty medical groups and other organized care systems. It has been doing these compensation surveys for 25 years. The 2012 survey, covering 2011 data, represents responses from 225 medical groups encompassing 55,800 providers spanning 124 specialties.
The data from the survey provides more evidence that the current Medicare system for the reimbursement and financing of health care is unsustainable. AMGA continues to advocate for changes in the Medicare reimbursement system, including a shift from volume-based to value-based payment models.
Specialties whose members reported the largest increases in compensation were hematology and medical oncology (7.1 percent), hypertension and nephrology (7.0 percent), urgent care (5.2 percent), and family medicine (5.1 percent).
Disturbingly, the survey found that many provider organizations continue to operate at a significant loss. It reported a national median operating margin per physician of $1,235 in the red numbers.
Dr. Fisher put a positive spin on that, saying, “In the face of the current challenging economic climate, multispecialty medical groups and other organized systems of care continue to rise to the challenge of delivering the highest-quality coordinated care to the patients they serve.” But those numbers are scary.
Looking after its own financial health, the AMGA is selling copies of the survey for $325 to members and $650 to nonmembers.
Related seminar: The Business of Radiology